An evening with Davidstow Cheddar®
I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to the expert Cheese Maker and Cheese Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker for Cornish Cheddar Cheese brand Davidstow Cheddar®. On the 13th July, we joined Mark and critically acclaimed chef Lee Westcott who'd curated a bespoke menu using a selection of matured Davidstow Cheddar® cheeses: 12 Month Mature Cheddar, 18 Month Mature Cheddar, 50 Month Mature Cheddar, and 3 Year Special Reserve Vintage. Here, I speak to Mark about why Davidstow Cheddar® carries its unique quality and taste, and what some of his favourite ways to eat Davidstow Cheddar® are!
What drew you towards a career in cheese?
Having travelled across America after school I took a temporary job helping to make cheese so I could save up for another trip. I found both cheese and the manufacturing process fascinating as a potential career opportunity - it grabbed me, even with the early 6.00am starts!
Why is the Cornish countryside so well suited to producing cheddar?
Some might suggest it might be a coincidence that so many great dairy based products have Cornish origin. Well it's not! I always say great cheese making is a blend of nature and nurture. We certainly have nature on our side in Cornwall and we’ve taken inspiration from our natural surroundings in our recipe which has been meticulously crafted for over 60 years, to ensure that every bite is never less than exquisite.
What is your favourite way to eat Davidstow® cheddar?
Naked! And by naked I mean just the cheese on a board with some fresh sourdough or simple biscuits with a little chutney or pickle. This simple evening snack pairs perfectly with a glass of Valpolicella Ripasso or a pint of DoomBar Cornish ale.
Aside from the Cornish countryside, where else would you recommend to nibble on some cheese?
Being a creature of simple pleasures and limited cooking ability I love to throw together a simple cheeseboard when a friend pops around in the evening to enjoy at the kitchen table whilst chewing the cud.
What are some foods that taste good with Davidstow® cheddar, that people may not expect would?
The richness and flintiness of Davidstow® means it is great as a part of any cold meal. I've occasionally melted the Davidstow® 18 Month Extra Mature over some roasted aubergine.
Working in cheese, roughly how much cheese do you think you consume on a weekly basis?
In a typical week I’d get through at least 500-700 samples. I also love to eat cheese in the evenings too, so let me say very quietly, 500g conservatively and nearer a kilo realistically!
If you could be a cheese, which one would you be and why?
Without question Davidstow® 3 Year Old Vintage Reserve - firm, attractively rugged, distinguished, rich and enjoyed by those who appreciate it!!
Could you recommend a good wine to pair with the Davidstow® 18 Month Extra Mature?
I'm a big fan of Italian reds and I think a beautifully balanced, warm Chianti is a perfect wine for Davidstow® 18 Month Extra Mature cheddar.
How would you like to see the production and use of cheese change in the future?
It is a constant frustration and disappointing to see so much cheddar on the market that doesn’t meet the same quality standards of Davidstow®. Cheddar can be and should be a wonderful eating cheese. The combination of Cornish provenance, flavour, texture and the love and care that goes into the making, maturing process and selection of the finest cheddars sorts the piano players from the piano shifters.
I've added their cheeses to many of my dishes, in particular I love the 18 Month Mature Cheddar in my favourite dishes such as adding a good rich kick to my scrambled eggs in the morning, and enhancing the flavours in macaroni cheeses and my quiches. You can buy the selection of Davidstow Cheddar cheeses at these locations:
12 Month Mature Cheddar
Tesco Extra, Asda, Morrisons & Ocado
18 Month Extra Mature
Tesco Extra, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons & Ocado
36 Month (3 Year) Vintage Cheddar
Exclusively available from Ocado
60 Month (5 Year) Vintage Cheddar
Can be sampled only at Michel Roux’s La Gavroche, London
To find out more about Davidstow Cheddar®